This is my review for Anime Planet Secret Santa 2019.
Sorry in advance because I am not good at reviewing and for my English.
The Voynich Hotel, is a hotel in a far away tropical island with all kind of weird customers visiting regularly. The main character Taizou just moved there from Japan and he witnesses first hand a lot of strange things happening daily. There are many rumors going around in the island about the hotel and the island since it attracts some bizarre characters; murderers, assassins, drug dealers and even witches.
It’s one of those series that you either love from the first moment or you really don’t because of the distinctive humor so you have to try it yourself to see if it is your cup of tea. In the first volume it feels like a cute horror story, without many horror elements but after the second volume it gets darker and has a lot more gruesomeness. Also the plot starts to unfold after the second volume and the side stories connect together. I really like the The Three Mothers (a movie trilogy by Dario Argento) inspiration; I really had to look it up to make sure.
As I started reading this, I was a little confused because in every chapter there were new people introduced and they weren’t mentioned again until later where they re-appeared but I got the hang of it very fast. Because of the many characters it feels like there are a bunch of stories going on simultaneously but they all got engaged together somehow. There are many things that at first seem unimportant but as you read you need to take a moment or two to think and then you realize how things are connected. It makes you feel like you earned the achievement of figuring something out on your own.
The story is based on messed up situations normalized with the use of humor. The series balances between normal comedy and dark comedy really good. The uniqueness of the characters contributes greatly in the humor, since everyone is funny but for different reasons. It feels like they’re all tragic characters and they make fun of their unluckiness.
There is a huge variety of characters in this manga. You get serial killers, detectives, witches, robots, assassins, deadly maids, a Mexican wrestler, drug dealers, junkies, scientists, manga artists and many others. Since it is a horror manga too, they are mostly characters that fit the horror genre but with a humorous twist. All of the characters are solid even though they don’t have a deep back-story and they’re also very enjoyable figures.
The art is very simple but all the characters have a charming design. The whole manga gives vibes of spooky aesthetics and simplicity. It’s not a bad thing that it’s simple because it’s a comedy story and it helps focus more on the story and the jokes inside than getting overwhelmed by the fancy designs. The hotel and the city designs are very simple, almost boring . It reminds me more of a cartoon comic than a manga, like the artists didn’t put a lot of effort in the surroundings.
Generally, it was a great manga to read. Every chapter was short and the stories not pro-longed so it didn’t get boring. It was something that it had been completely overlooked in my lists and I really enjoyed reading every page of it. The humor is great and easy to get, the characters are all different and the art is simple and fitting. All the elements in it strengthen each other and it’s a very solid manga overall.